Nuclear Lake | Appalachian Trail
In 1958 the United Nuclear Corporation acquired 1,100 acres of land north of the village of Pawling for an experimental research lab. Fourteen years later, a chemical explosion released plutonium into the environment, and while no one was killed, the plant was closed down and its buildings razed. The surrounding area was decontaminated, and in 1979 sold to the National Park Service, who used the land around the lake to reroute the Appalachian Trail. The lake itself was initially off-limits to hikers, but it too was eventually cleared for recreation use, and since the 1990s has been open to the public.